Wondering who some of your competition is for Sunday’s 2014 Surgical Artistry Modesto Marathon?
You might notice a lot of youngsters: there are 91 registered minors under the age of 18. The youngest are a pair of 12-year-olds, Gerardo Avalos of Ceres and Coby McCaig of Modesto. The youngest female competitors are 13 years old — Maria Diaz and Dana Miranda, both of Ceres.
But marathoning knows no boundaries: Larry Lieb of Carmichael is the oldest competitor at 80 years young. Ricardo Guidolin, a local speedster who is a mainstay of area races, and Philo Short of Martinez, both 76, are included in a field of four males in their 70s. The oldest female competitor in the full marathon is Barbara Brady, 70, of Livermore.
One of the fastest women we know in the race is defending champion 29-year-old Anna Bretan of Berkeley, the 2013 SAMM winner and course record holder at 2:43:33. She was third overall last year. The men’s field could be anyone’s guess as no past winners have as of yet registered. Two-time winner Jon Olsen of Modesto won’t be competing as he’s nursing an injury. He will, however, be on the speaking panel at the Expo on Saturday at the CrossPoint Family Life Pavilion, corner of 12th and Needham streets. The Expo will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Olsen will speak at noon, followed by “Marathon Goddess” Julie Weiss of Santa Monica, who was featured in the movie Spirit of the Marathon II. Weiss was in Modesto in February during a screening of the film at the Modesto Marathon Movie & Wine Night fund-raiser. Weiss will also be running the full marathon, encouraging others to complete the run while raising awareness of pancreatic cancer.
Also at the Expo will be Arlene Pieper Stine, who is the first recorded woman to have completed an organized marathon. Stine ran the tough Pike’s Peak Marathon in 1959 to promote her women’s health club. Her daughter Kathy, age 9 at the time, tagged along for the half-marathon up the mountain, and she will be in Modesto with her mother as well. They will be at the Expo, speaking at 3 p.m., and at the marathon finish line on Sunday offering autographed photos from her historic accomplishment.
While the vast majority of marathon runners are from California, we have someone entered with an Armed Forces Asia Pacific address. Of those traveling from out-of-state, eight are from Oregon, four from Nevada, three each from Texas, Florida, Missouri and Montana; with North and South Carolina, Delaware and Illinois also represented.
One of our largest family contingents comes from SAMM’s “Number 1 fan,” Dee Cajiuat of Yacaipa in Southern California. Many here know of Dee through her Facebook posts or her free K-T Tapings and promoting at our Expo. Dee started running to honor her nephew Josh, who suffered life-threatening injuries in an automobile accident. SAMM was her first full marathon and she has since run many, many full and half marathons and even a 100-miler. This year Josh will be making the trip to California to run his first half marathon since the accident, with his Aunt Dee by his side. A total of six Cajiuats will be here running the full or half marathon. Josh’s father and brother will be attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon here.
SAMM is offering a few perks for any runners qualifying for the Boston Marathon here. First, they’ll have their choice of a tech shirt or a license plate frame that proclaims: I BQ’d at the Modesto Marathon. BQ runners will also automatically be entered into a contest for two $500 cash prizes – one to a male and one to a female — which may be used toward their trip to run in Boston.
Other featured runners in the 2014 SAMM are members of the Teens Run Modesto program, who comprise most of our youngest runners, as well as members of the ShadowChase Running Club Adult Training group. Both groups have been training the past 6 months, many for their very first races.
One competitor will be setting SAMM history by being our first official wheelchair athlete. A.J. Mitchell, who helps coach and encourage our adult trainees, will attempt to complete the course in his regular, daily wheelchair. Mitchell recently completed his first marathon, the Los Angeles Marathon, on March 9. The 2014 SAMM also has an “assisted team” entry with one athlete scheduled to run while pushing another.